Greatest gift to Najib on his 40th anniversary celebrations in politics – a second sabotage of the PAC investigations into 1MDB!

There was considerabe fanfare to celebrate the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s “40 years of serving the people” “From Pekan to Putrajaya” especially the pages and pages of “congratulatory” advertisements by various Barisan Nasional Mentri-Mentri Besar and Chief Ministers and GLCS in thick supplements published by the Barisan Nasional controlled owned mainstream media.

(Note to Auditor-General: should check on propriety of UMNO leaders and GLCs using public funds to glorify Najib and whether surcharge should be imposed on the UMNO MBs, CMs and GLC CEOs to pay the advertising costs from their own pockets).

But the greatest gift to Najib on his 40th anniversary celebrations came from the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Chairman, Datuk Hasan Arifin - the second sabotage of PAC investigations into the RM55 billion 1MDB scandal with the shocking announcement that the tabling of the Auditor-General’s final report on 1MDB had been deferred until next month.

It would appear that the “cari makan” PAC Chairman has finally stamped his personality on the PAC because of the BN majority on the committee, transforming the PAC into his image by becoming a “cari makan” PAC!

The Auditor-General was due to table his final audit report on 1MDB tomorrow and Thursday, but a late-night message went out last night to PAC members to cancel the PAC meetings, viz:

"Greetings Dato'/Datuk/YB, it is informed that considering many PAC members are abroad, some fulfilling their umrah (minor pilgrimage) and other important commitments, the tabling of the Auditor-General's Final Report on 1MDB scheduled for February 24 and 25 has been postponed to a date that will be informed later, thank you – Johan Afandi, PAC secretary."

Shakespeare’s quote in Hamlet, “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark”, cannot be more appropriate to describe the state of affairs in the higher reaches of the Malaysian government today.

On 11th February, after PAC hearings involving former 1MDB chairperson Bakke Salleh and ex-CEO Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Hasan said that PAC will meet on Feb 24 and 25 for the Auditor-General to present the final audit report on the 1MDB and the PAC will then table its report to Parliament in the March meeting of Parliament.

Two questions are in order:

Firstly, were the PAC meetings of Feb. 24 and 25 fixed on Feb. 11 without the surety even guarantee from PAC members that they would be present, considering the national and even international importance of the issue, which has frequently made world news to the detriment of Malaysia’s international image and standing?

Who are the PAC members who could not attend the PAC meetings tomorrow and Thursday for the Auditor-General to present the final audit report on 1MDB?

The Malaysian public, and in fact world opinion, are entitled to know who are these miscreants who do not realise the importance of their duties and responsibilities as members of the PAC on an issue which had attracted so much adverse publicity for the country, that they are prepared to misconduct themselves as to cause a sabotage of the PAC meetings tomorrow and Thursday?

In fact, the most honourable option for these MPs is to resign as PAC member, or the public not only in their constituency but throughout the country, would be entitled to demand that they should resign as MPs as they have shown themselves to be totally untrustworthy in being responsible for the second sabotage of PAC investigations into 1MDB.

The first sabotage of PAC investigations into 1MDB took place at the end of July when Najib executed government purges which saw the sacking of Deputy Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, Senior Minister for Rural and Regional Development, Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal, the Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail; the dissolution of the high-powered multi-agency Special Task Force investigating the 1MDB; the arrest, instant transfers and general intimidation of independent and conscientious officers in the major government enforcement agencies and the four-month sabotage of PAC investigations into 1MDB by creating vacancies in the PAC in elevating the then PAC Chairman Datuk Nur Jazlan Mohamad and three other BN members as Minister and Deputy Ministers.

Secondly, is the last-minute cancellation of the PAC investigations tomorrow and Thursday the latest in the “flip-flops” of “cari makan” Hassan as PAC Chairman?

I had earlier asked what had happened in the 17 days between January 21 and Feb. 7 that transformed the “cari makan” Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, from a laggard dragging his feet on the PAC’s 1MDB investigations and even saying that the PAC cannot keep its deadline to submits its 1MDB report to Parliament next month into to a “speedster” who want the PAC investigations to be wrapped up this month so that the PAC report could be submitted to the March meeting of Parliament.

I interpreted the first “flip-flop” as a belated realisation that indefinite delay in the PAC report on the 1MDB will ignite a third national and international firestorm over Najib’s twin mega scandals – the first being the Attorney-General Tan Sri Mohamad Apandi Ali’s announcement on January 26 exonerating Najib of any criminal wrongdoing and that no charges would be brought against him in both the RM2.6 billion donation and RM42 million SRC International scandals and the second, Apandi’s interview with Sin Chew Daily on 6th February where he made the shocking disclosure that the Official Secrets Act (OSA) would be amended to impose heavier penalties on whistleblowers and journalists to deter them from leaks of government information to combat corruption, particularly grand corruption.

But the events of the past two weeks, in particular the Feb 12 interview by Wall Street Journal financial editor Ken Brown with Australia’s ABC News refuting Apandi’s exoneration of Najib of wrongdoings and reiterating that the RM2.6 billion deposited in Najib’s personal bank account as from a member of the Saudi royal family; Najib’s failure to institute legal proceedings against WSJ for over six months and the series of adverse reports on the 1MDB scandal from various foreign countries which are carrying out independent probes into the scandal, must have put the IMDB protagonists in a situation of “Between the devil and the deep blue sea”.

Clearly, the 1MDB strategists have decided on another “flip-flop” opting for delay of the PAC report into the indefinite future instead of tabling the PAC report in Parliament next month.

There is no justifiable reason for the cancellation of the PAC meetings this week, which should be held as scheduled, as it could also be used to decide to summon many important personalities whose testimony are crucial and even critical in throwing light on the 1MDB scandal, including the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the Attorney-General Apandi, former Attorney-General Tan Sri Gani Patail, Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, the Chief Commissioner for MACC, Tan Sri Abu Kassim, the MACC director (special operations) Bahri Mohamed Zin, the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and the former Special Branch deputy director Datuk Abdul Hamid Bador as well as the elusive Penang-born billionaire Jho Low.

In the commemoration of his 40 years of involvement of politics, Najib has promised that he would strive to take Malaysia to greater heights.

Malaysia had never achieved greater heights in corruption than under the Najib premiership – being named third in the world’s “worst corruption in 2015” and dropping four places in Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2015.

I believe I can speak for all Malaysians, regardless of race, religion, region or even politics (including the overwhelming majority of the three million UMNO members and 21,000 UMNO branches) that they dread and do not want Malaysia achieving “greater heights” in corruption!

Lim Kit Siang DAP Parliamentary Leader & MP for Gelang Patah